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I have been feeling the crunch on this latest building decline for well over a year now, and can say that YES the market is very tough for recent graduates in multiple areas of the country, including our area. I moved from Pittsburgh and can say that the market there was terrible with widespread lay-offs. I took a risk and decided to move to Portland at the beginning of this month with the hopes of being able to get a better job that is more stable and more akin to the type of design I would like to do, so hopefully something will happen for me soon.

I have been job hunting for several months prior to, and still currently, and have seemingly have mailed out information and talked with people from every firm in town with no luck. And I have also been directly told my several principles and hiring depts. that they are actually cutting people and will not be considering hiring for a while.

There is no doubt the market will return to normal eventually, but having only a masters and 1.5 years of tangible experience its tough to show you can make a difference to a firm, especially in this economic state, where every penny counts. if nothing else it forces you to really think about how to present yourself to a company because needing a job is different than wanting a job. and on the flip side about how a firm gets their work and how they keep clients. I imagine there will be some weaker companies weeded out by this, and many places will be rethinking marketing strategies and taking a deeper look at a 5 year plan and really looking at who will help them as an employee. (hence the current lay offs across the board)

This reminds me of all the talk when I was in school about the architecture (but really much more widespread) recession that happened in the early nineties and resulted in tons of architects/designers/etc being laid off and lots having to branch out into different arenas of the built world. and I cant help but wonder how does this compare to that? and how long is it going to last?

I'm not terribly familiar with the Portland economic situation but from what I have seen, heard, and read we are not at the bottom (second largest point drop in the DOW today for instance). everything is still so in flux. One thing that also complicates our industry is the general time it takes a project to become a reality. This isn’t graphic design where you can pump out an amazing magazine ad in a day, or even a week. It takes years for projects to become a reality in many cases, so we wont see an immediate onslaught of building, or lending to get buildings going for that matter. people are just afraid, and it will take time. but hey, at least I'm where I want to be, and can hopefully position myself to grow with a company and make a difference.


Does anyone know of any Portland architecture firms laying off employees? I know Gerding Edlen layed off several employees over the summer.


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This is affecting many landscape architecture firms as well.


Portland is a small friendly architecture community and luckily my firm has been able to loan some employees out temporarily to firms that are doing a little better or are in more stable market areas.


As many as one-third of the 3,000 architects employed in Ireland could be out of work by the end of the year because of the downturn in the construction sector in Ireland and Britain, according to senior industry sources. Seán O’Laoire, founding director of Murray O’Laoire Architects and president of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI), said anecdotal evidence suggested that very significant redundancies were occurring in the sector.

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I moved to Portland in June, with my boyfriend (also in architecture). We both have about 2 years of experience in the field. Two years ago it seemed like we could step into any city and get a pretty sweet looking job. Now? Not so much. He, luckily enough, stepped into a position someone vacated the day before we came up for interviews. Despite several intros from my previous employer, I've yet to find a 'real' job. I've been taking in piecework drafting, working on 3-D models, and doing web design.

There are jobs out there for people with 7 years experience and a license, but myself and two other unemployed architect friends, both smart, motivated, LEED accredited-technically inclined designers, are pretty much feeling out of luck.

If anyone needs some part-time or contract help, I'm good at Sketch-up, CAD, Revit, Vectorworks, watercolor illustration, and more. I tutor LEED and Adobe Suite. Visit my website and drop me a line. I really don't want to end up with an admin job after all those years of architecture school.


Seems like I have the same story as everyone else. My boyfriend and I moved out to Portland in July having both graduated with a Bachelors and Masters in Architecture, respectively. Neither of us has ever had any difficulty finding a job in the past and were optomistic about the move. However, it appeared as soon we came the "sky is falling" mentality kicked in. I applied to 35 firms, my boyfriend another 20. I only got one interview and he didn't get any. Everyone is saying come back next year or even telling us that they are laying off people and they don't see hiring anyone in the near future.
It makes me worried. While we have been lucky enough to find work in other less glamorous but related fields; it's not architecture and it's not what we want to be doing. Even if the market does improve is there now too much competition here? I go to the AIA website and there is 30 resumes up. Even if someone is hiring will they take a chance on an outsider fresh out of school?
I really don't want to have to relocate to another city to find work! Portland already feels like home in the short time we have been here. I just wonder how long should I stick it out waiting. Should I cut my loses and move on?
Getting a little discouraged but good to hear we are definately not the only ones.


I was just laid off 2 weeks ago, along with 5-10 other people; I had the unfortunate luck of being part of the retail division of a large A/E firm. With the consumer economy in the tank, all of our national clients have cut back and local developers are in a full scale retreat.

I'm fortunate that I have a Master's degree and 7+ years experience in other project types such as transportation and healthcare, however, with everything I'm hearing, I'm still pretty skeptical I'm gonna find anything before the new year regardless of my credentials...Plus my girlfriend's ad agency went out of business a few months ago, so we are the picture postcard of the Lame Duck-Bush economy this holiday...Good luck to everyone else, but based on what I've heard they expect more layoffs at my old firm, so things are probably gonna get worse before they get better..


As a intern with 6+ years experience and halfway to licensure I'm not feeling safe--I live in Florida and have been trying to set up a move to Portland for months now--sounds like I should keep my job for now and put the move on hold. Just heard today that one of the more stable and financially well-managed firms laid off 3 of their 12 people--one had been there 12 years. A retail firm, a developer and a residential firm have laid off recently, but those were kind of expected when residential tanked here. But this latest firm--did institutional, awrd-winning work with lots of repeat clients both govt and private. this one makes me think this is not over.
a PhD is looking pretty good now if I can find scholarships and grants!

Unemployed architect

Two days after this article was posted I got laid off....now about a month later and 50 resumes/portfolios handed out (complete with follow ups); still unemployed. Many firms told me that they are not even considering hiring until next year. So I'm bracing myself for a cold winter!


Similar story here in seattle. I was laid off in August but have managed to keep myself busy with a mix of contract and side work. I'm not sure how many resumes I've sent out, lost count after 30.

Now considering going back to school for ABA (anything but architecture)


Yeah, I'm working for an architectural firm. But I got work. We're really busy where I am. We got contracts from all over the world. It never stops. Getting busier all the time. We're always in demand.


Are you looking at hiring some of the laid-off architects posting here or are you just boasting? If it's the former, I'm sure we'd all like to know what firm is busy and getting busier?


I agree with Robert's posting on Dec. 8th. I have been laid off from my interior design job in early Sept. of last year. Still looking for work and I have almost 7 year's experience.

If your firm is busy, I would love to help!


I was laid off from my job of six years and I didn't know what I was going to do. If anyone is intrested there is a great site, where I found a new job, http://www.DesigningCrossing.com They had more listings for architects than any other site!!

xxx xxx

Most of the interns I know make less than garbage men. Since I finished school, I've discovered that architecture is important to architects and academics - that's it. If it was important, we'd get the same respect that similar fields get, like engineers for instance. I was laid-off 6 mos ago and have decided to find a real career. Still looking.

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